A beginner's guide to planting a 'low-water' garden

CALGARY, May 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Each spring and summer, millions of Canadians head to their local greenhouses for plants and flowers. And as part of a growing trend to conserve water, more of them will be opting for low-water plants. Low-water gardening isn't new. But with an increased focus on water preservation, and with some communities enforcing summer watering restrictions, the concept is gaining in popularity.

Here's a quick guide to get you started:

Step 1: Create a plan

  • Map out a plan for your yard. Decide on plant placement, with an eye toward colour combinations and spacing.
  • Put taller plants in the middle, surrounded by shorter ones.
  • Get ideas online or from your local nursery.

Step 2: Prepare the soil

  • Assess the soil. If it's hard, sandy or mostly clay, you'll need to bring it up to snuff.
  • Turn the soil with a shovel or rototiller. Add manure, compost and/or peat moss. Or bring a soil sample to a gardening centre and they'll tell you what's missing.
  • Mix the materials in a wheelbarrow and distribute.
  • Work into the ground. Level with a rake.

Step 3: Buy your plants

  • Group plants according to watering needs, with shade-tolerant species in shady areas and drought-tolerant species in sunny spots.
  • Your local nursery experts can help with plant selection.
  • Set the plants in place. Remove each from its pot, dig a hole and plant in the ground.

Step 4: Watering

  • Use a soaker hose to get water to the root of plant.
  • Water early in the day.
  • A new garden needs frequent watering until roots are established.
  • Use mulch to help prevent evaporation.
  • Once your garden is mature, you can reduce watering to as little as once every two weeks.

Low-water gardening can enhance the beauty of your surroundings while helping save on your water bill.

Image with caption: "The RBC Blue Water Rooftop Garden won gold at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, England. The garden features a central wetland, which captures rainwater run-off, and a winding boardwalk that leads to a dramatic 'bird hide' clad in habitat panels. Low-tech living walls which require no irrigation help enclose the space, and the whole garden is filled with flower-rich planting. (CNW Group/RBC Calgary)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130528_C9493_PHOTO_EN_27189.jpg


For further information:

To learn more about protecting water, visit the RBC Blue Water Project at www.rbc.com/bluewater.

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